Youth charity provides free meals for carers as living costs soar

More than 125 workers are being offered free breakfasts and lunches to help them cope with rising bills.

Carers at an Edinburgh youth charity are being offered free breakfast and lunches as they struggle with the cost of living crisis. 

The free meals are provided daily by the charity group Capella to help their 125 workers, across Teens+ and Sleep Scotland to help them cope with recent rising bills.

Alex Voak, a senior project worker at Teens+, said: “It really helps out with the cost of living and it also saves me a lot of time and a lot of stress.

“It makes it really easy to come into work and I just know that I’ve got my lunch sorted out. It’s really helpful in many different ways in my life.” 

Teens+, which provides educational support for young people with complex needs aged 18 and above, supports around 60 students and their families at their sites in Ravenscroft, Liberton Brae and Musselburgh. 

Caitlin Knightingale, an education supervisor at the charity said: “Seeing our staff not have to have that stress – with everything going we can’t take that away from them ourselves.

“Having the help from Teens+ to be able to make that bit easier for them has been such a relief for us.” 

The initiative was launched in autumn last year ahead of what was expected to be a tough winter for their staff. 

Capella is providing free meals for more than 125 carers

Gail Burden, CEO of Capella said: “We just wanted to do something to help in any way we could, so we thought that free meals for staff would be a really big deal to staff to kind of help them meet the cost of living crisis.” 

The free meals have also provided a sense of community, allowing people to come together, share experiences and provide emotional support to each other during difficult times.

William Martin, a project worker, said: “It’s brought everybody together as well.

“There’s a total community in work now but it’s more like a family – because we are all sitting down and eating lunch together talking about our days.” 

Despite the scheme being a success, the charity is concerned about its future after recent council budget cuts. 

The Scottish Government has said they are committed to supporting charities, while ensuring public money is used responsibly.

Ms Burden added: “Charities are really struggling just now and anything that the Scottish Government can do to kind of help us weather the storm. We’re doing more for even less money.”

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